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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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10 Jul 2017 Ohio House Passes Bill Weakening Employers’ Ability to Restrict Guns on Property

  If it feels like I’m beating (or shooting) a dead horse with Ohio gun laws lately, it is because the Ohio legislature keeps passing laws that restrict employers’ right to prohibit firearms in their workplaces. The newest bill, which passed out of the Ohio House on July 6, would eliminate criminal penalties for carrying a deadly weapon into a business that restricts them.   As the law currently stands, a business may post signage stating that firearms are prohibited on the property. If an…

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29 Jun 2017 Ohio Legislature Considers Adding Teeth to New Gun Law

  On March 21, Ohio’s new gun law went into effect without a way to enforce it. The new law prevents employers from making or enforcing any policy that prohibits employees with concealed carry permits from storing firearms and ammunition in their locked cars on employer property. While this law spelled out employees’ right to lock guns in their cars, it contained no enforcement mechanism and no clear penalty on employers who obstruct employees from exercising their right.   Now the Ohio Senate is considering…

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08 Jun 2017 Ohio Court Finds New Local Minimum Wage Law Unconstitutional on Technicality

  A Franklin County, Ohio, judge has invalidated a new Ohio law that prohibited municipalities from enacting pro-employee laws raising the local minimum wage and guaranteeing additional employee rights. The law was found to be unconstitutional, but only on procedural grounds.   Ohio Senate Bill 331 started as an animal welfare bill – it regulated the sale of dogs from pet stores, prohibited cockfighting and bearbaiting, and outlawed bestiality. However, during the lame duck legislative session in December 2016, the House Finance Committee added diverse…

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06 Jun 2017 Ohio State University Considers Cutting Benefits for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners

  On June 9, the Ohio State University Board of Trustees will consider whether to stop allowing employees’ unmarried same-sex partners to obtain health insurance and other benefits. If the board approves the change, then unmarried same-sex partners already enrolled in benefit plans would keep those benefits through 2018, but no new unmarried same-sex partners would be allowed to obtain benefits.   This decision is not entirely novel. Miami University made a similar change at the end of 2016, same-sex partners must be married to…

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05 Jun 2017 Court Invites EEOC’s Opinion on Whether Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

  We recently updated you on the Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit granted en banc review of the plaintiff’s claim to consider whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Now the court has taken an additional step of inviting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to give its two cents.   The EEOC is already on record in other courts arguing that Title VII covers sexual orientation…

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23 May 2017 Ohio House Takes Steps to Modernize Outdated Antidiscrimination Statutes

  On May 9, the Ohio House of Representatives’ Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee favorably reported on House Bill 2, a bill that would streamline and modernize Ohio’s archaic antidiscrimination statutes.   Ohio’s antidiscrimination statutes are currently some of the least friendly in the country to employers. There are lengthy statutes of limitations, along with individual liability for managers and uncapped damages. There are four ways to file an age discrimination claim, all with different statutes of limitations and remedies. A plaintiff can simultaneously…

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19 Apr 2017 Court Tells Skydiver’s Estate It Won’t Reconsider Title VII Claim

  On April 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declined to reconsider the estate of deceased skydiver Donald Zarda’s Title VII claim against former employer Altitude Express. Zarda filed suit claiming his employment was terminated because of his sexual orientation. Although his New York state law claim was explicitly based on sexual orientation, his Title VII claim was characterized as a sex discrimination claim.   The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment to Altitude…

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04 Apr 2017 Your Questions About Ohio’s New Gun Law Answered

  This post was authored by Bill Nolan and Doug Oldham.   Ohio’s new gun law grants concealed carry licensees the right to carry concealed firearms in more places, such as vehicles, causing many business owners and employers to question how this law will affect guns at their businesses. The law went into effect on March 21. This post answers some business owners’ common questions and concerns.   Question: Does “a person’s privately owned vehicle” include …   A vehicle that is owned by the…

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09 Mar 2017 Unwise Old Sayings? Watch Out For Stereotypes That Might Trigger An Age Discrimination Lawsuit

  By this point, most employers know not to make explicit ageist remarks such as calling an employee Grandpa, saying an employee is old, or inquiring about when an employee will retire. However, employers should also be mindful that less explicit remarks, even if not intended to be ageist, can evoke certain stereotypes and result in allegations of age discrimination.   In a recent Eighth Circuit case, an employee sued for age discrimination after his termination. His supervisor had noted that tasks requiring “physical skill…

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26 Jan 2017 Texas Supreme Court to Decide Whether Same-Sex Spouses Are Entitled to Benefits

  Traditionally, marriage is about romantic concepts like love and companionship. But it also has a practical component, such as employee benefits eligibility. Same-sex couples across the country won the right to marry as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. However, the practical benefits of same-sex marriage are under fire in Texas and the Texas Supreme Court could limit same-sex couples’ right to spousal benefits.   In 2013, same-sex marriages were not allowed in Texas, but the…

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